Friday, December 24, 2010
Ho, ho, hum
The math department used to have a clerk for whom the holidays were irresistible opportunities to tart up the office with festive paraphernalia. I particularly remember a Christmas when wreathes and cut-outs and posters adorned the hallways and all of the office doors.
“Nice pixie you've got there,” I said to a colleague, admiring the colorful cut-out figure that bore an embarrassingly close resemblance to the aforementioned colleague. Short and baby-faced math professors have a rough way to go, let alone getting confused with elves and pixies. We speculated on whether the selection of the pixie figure had been deliberate or fortuitous*.
I escaped with a nondescript wreath, although I pushed it aside because it was obscuring the final exam schedule I had posted.
The current staff of the department is a little more restrained, for which I am grateful. Most of the decorations remain in the staff office and don't invade the faculty precincts. There are, of course, colleagues who put up their own decorations, but at least they don't put anything on my office door.
For some reason, I have not the slightest impulse to mark holidays with decorations or special outfits. I marvel at the people who have the time, patience, and inclination to festoon their homes with elaborate displays of holiday lights and animatronic Santas. It strikes me as peculiar, while I guess most people regard it as perfectly normal behavior.
No doubt I am the peculiar one.
Some things I don't need to know.
Have a nice holiday, whether you dress up or not, and whether or not you have strobe lights in your front yard that are keeping the neighbors up at night. (I'll be the guy with the blanket pulled over his face.)
*My colleague even understood that “fortuitous” means “by chance” rather than “fortunate”—or at least it used to.